What to do when you lose a loved one December 6, 2019 The loss of a loved one can be hard to bear. Even more so when you think about all the steps that follow for planning a funeral and getting financial and insurance affairs in order. When you’re ready, check out this checklist of items that may require action. Obtain a death certificate Obtaining a death certificate is a critical first step. It will allow you to complete many of the following steps. The funeral home you’re working with can get certified copies on your behalf. You can also contact your state office that specializes in vital records. Update policies If the deceased had life insurance, you’ll need to contact the insurance company and present a death certificate in order to enact the benefits. You’ll also want to let the company know to either remove their name from existing policies or get rid of the policies entirely. This step may require updating your own policies, if the loved one was listed under them. Notify the right people Certain institutions need to be aware of the passing, especially government agencies and credit agencies. Check with the social security administration to ensure they are aware of your loved one’s passing. You should also notify any other agencies that provided a benefit to your loved one, like Medicare, Veterans Affairs, etc. To help prevent identity theft, contact the major credit agencies including Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You’ll need to present the death certificate to these institutions. Lastly, the Department of Motor Vehicles can cancel their license and voter registration, and the post office can help determine where to forward their mail. Prepare your own accounts There is no greater wake-up call than the loss of a loved one. This life event may make you think about your own family, and the benefits or burdens that will come to them upon your end of life. You can help ensure they are financially prepared by adding or adjusting your own life insurance policy. No matter your age or health condition, it is always a good idea to have life insurance. It is also important to have some form of written will, as a way to ensure your loved ones receive your assets. Having someone to support you through this process will make it much easier. For insurance and financial advice, contact your trusted agent to help get you through this difficult season of life.